Thousands gather at cenotaph for national Remembrance Day ceremony
Published Saturday, November 11, 2017 2:48PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, November 11, 2017 5:44PM EST
Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of downtown Ottawa to pay tribute to Canada’s military men and women.
Retired private Donn Fowler came to town for his first remembrance day at the cenotaph to lay a wreath honouring the first nations and Métis people who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces. The WW2 veteran enlisted at age 14, after convincing a recruiting officer he was nearly 18. He went on to serve in Europe between 1941 and 1945.
“It’s a tough thing to remember that I used to be 16, 17, 18 and a lot of the guys left behind were that age,” Fowler said.
Fowler said he wants to forget what happened during the war, but can’t. Today’s ceremony was a special privilege as he was asked to lay a wreath honouring all the Metis Canadians who have fought and died over the years.
“It’s a little difficult to settle down to it after all the years go by because these things remind you of it,” he said. “But this is a special occasion.”
For many people the ceremony at the cenotaph is a tradition.
“I have a number of family members, including my nephew in Turkey right now, who have served in the military,” said Megan McEwen.
For others, it’s a brand new experience and a chance for the entire family to remember together.
“I think it’s an important opportunity for us to come out on Saturday, when we have the whole family together to share with our Canadian family all the important sacrifices our country has made for us, for our children to not have to experience the horrors the people in our backyard have experienced,” said Cathy Poirier who brought her husband, 10-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter to the ceremony.
Although the ceremony at the National War Memorial is the largest in Canada, it was not the only one. Almost every suburb in Ottawa, from Barrhaven to Navan and Manotick held their own remembrance day ceremonies on November 11th.